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USA 1977
Directed by
John Badham
119 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Saturday Night Fever

Although Saturday Night Fever is more effective in observing the lives of '70s ethnic Bronx working class and the central role of disco culture in it, it is music and dancing (that of John Travolta in particular) that made the film both a hit and an iconic statement of the Zeitgeist. .

Travolta is excellent at portraying Tony Manero the young guy divided between his family and friends, for whom life's horizons are a given and his belief that he deserves, and has the ability, to experience more than his circumstances would indicate. The classic disco score by The Bee Gees is perfectly integrated with the narrative, unlike the comparable Fame (1980) which appears so much more contrived and romanticised.

FYI: SNF was followed by an excruciatingly bad sequel, Staying Alive (1983), directed and co-written by Sylvester Stallone who reworked the Rocky zero-to-hero formula and got Travolta to bulk and oil up like someone out of a gay porno magazine. The film's crappy music was mostly by Sly's brother, Frank, and the big production number 'Satan's Alley' was rightly sub-titled 'A Musical Trip Through Hell'

 

 

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